Since the EU mandated General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in 2018, the way businesses handle personal information relating to customers and sales leads has dramatically changed — and not just in Europe. Given the broad scope of the regulations, smart North American companies should be compliant as well. But what does that entail?
Fast facts: What is GDPR?
GDPR is a set of European Union regulations which strictly govern the handling of personal data for all citizens of the EU and the European Economic Area. Since the regulations also address the transfer of data outside the EU and EEA regions, GDPR has implications for businesses worldwide. Here’s what you need to know:
- The regulations require businesses to disclose any data collection, its purpose, the length of time the data will be stored, and whether it is being transferred to any third parties.
- Individuals have the right to request a copy of their personal data and may even force a company to delete it, under some circumstances.
- Some businesses are required to employ a data protection officer to manage GDPR compliance.
- Personal data breaches must be reported within 72 hours.
How GDPR affects your sales team
Data collection and privacy may seem like IT issues but be warned; whether serving existing accounts or prospecting for new clients, many of your sales team’s activities do fall under GDPR. Expanding your sales funnel is dependant upon your team members making contact with prospects, obtaining information from them, and using that information to follow up and (hopefully) convert them into customers.
As an example, let’s look at the business card — a simple, effective way to receive information from a prospect. They’ve willingly given you a card containing personal information such as name, employer, employer’s address, phone number and e-mail address. Now what? Exactly how are you allowed to use that data without running afoul of GDPR?
By giving you their business card, your prospect has given you permission to contact them, but that’s it. You don’t have permission to add them to mailing lists, to subscribe them to your marketing emails, or to start soliciting them. First, make contact with an introductory email; tell them what information or marketing materials you think they would benefit from receiving, and give them a clear option to opt-out. Proceed only with their consent.
How your sales team stores and handles personal data collected from clients and prospects is as important as getting permission to use it. Your company must be able to show where you got the information, why you have it, and how you are using it. The most efficient and effective way to store data and track interactions with clients is through a centralized sales management program such as Salesforce.
Ambir makes GDPR compliance easier
A stack of business cards won’t translate into a spike in sales if they end up sitting in a desk drawer. Transferring the information from those cards into a digital system like Salesforce is an essential task, but a tedious and time-consuming one. Or is it? Thanks to our revolutionary AmbirScan software, digitizing your contacts is a breeze.
Just insert a card into your Ambir scanner and within seconds, the information on the card is automatically read and easily imported into your Outlook contacts, a spreadsheet, or the destination of your choice. Exporting your scanned contacts into Salesforce is just as easy, and takes just a few simple steps.
If you’re ready to turn your contacts into customers without running afoul of GDPR regulations, Ambir is here to help. Check out our revolutionary lineup of AmbirScan-compatible business card scanners today.